It also proposes three recommendations to help Chinese media become more democratic and credible, that are reporting timely, openly and accurately; getting officials involved into social media and setting up Journalism Award to recognize outstanding news organizations and individual journalists. Background: Chinese government fears that the free flow of information through media could threaten the party rule. Therefore, it makes a huge effort to censor the newspaper, magazines and television and Internet, ensuring Chinese media sends out the voice of the party and central government.
The Internet is under government scrutiny through Great Firewall, which blocks many foreign sites and censor information and news deemed sensitive. Media restrictions and block not only reduce the credibility of Chinese media, but also damage the image of the party. Starved of uncensored information and unconstrained public opinion, Chinese people dissatisfy with governments control in media, inspire social resistance and demand for freedom of information and expression. Therefore, its time for Chinese media reform, which need democratizing and setting up credibility. Analysis:
Chinese media should build up credibility by reporting timely, openly and accurately on breaking news events. Media is hard to make a breakthrough, considering the slow reaction, lack of the in-depth report, and cover-up the accident. Wenchuan Earthquake in 2008 is one of the cases. After overseas media reporting the news for 10 minutes, CCTV was still silent. Five days later, there was saturated coverage of achievements of rescue efforts in Sichuan. The reports coverage was narrow and lack in depth, mainly about where did Chinese leaders visit and what did they ask to the victims.
High-speed train accident in Wenzhou is another example. Netizens attacked the governments response of burying the wreckage, muzzling media coverage and forcing the journalists focus on rescue efforts. Media restrictions and block not only reduce the credibility of Chinese media, but also damage the image of the party. Therefore, Chinese media need improvements in providing timely, openly and accurately information, ensuring the citizens right to know. Government should encourage officials getting involved into social media by setting up account, getting official message across, interacting with citizens and reacting to the criticisms.
Social media has been flourished in China. As the most influential social media in China, Weibo(Microblogs) serves as a fire alarm to the government. Weibo is a real-time, high-speed information channel, which is widely used by 350 million Internet users. It touches large and impactful public sphere, such as food safety, corruption, environment issue, and drives the entire national dialogue. Right now, it is good to see that many government departments jump into social media, get official message across, embrace communication with their constituents, and react to criticisms. According to a recent report released by Sina.
com, there are 50,947 different government entities with Weibo accounts, in which 33,132 represented government organs and 17,815 represented specific government officials. However, there is still plenty of room for Chinas bureaucracy fully joined the social media. However, when different departments and officials join into social media, it might trigger some problems, such as fragmentation of institutional authority and cross-region operations. For example, Chinese media report to different government departments. At the national level, Chinese media is divided by cable, telecommunications, and press network.
And media belong to different local government, which do not want other regions to participate into its local events. In face of the problems, central government should enhance the communication and collaboration among different media channels and local governments, and put more effort on the supervision at central level. Government should set up Journalism Award to recognize outstanding news organizations and individual journalists that have integrity, social responsibilities and outstanding contribution in their work. Censorship, persecution, arrests hinder the breakthrough of Chinese media.
Most of the complaints and criticisms against government have been filtered out. Wang Qinglei, former producer of CCTV 24 Hours news program, was suspended from his job because his reports questioned the cause of the train crash and question the number of victims. It reveals the weakness of Chinese media regime: citizens are constrained to self-expression and Chinese media loses its function as a communication tool. Therefore, the government should give selective incentives to encourage public expressing their opinions and making critical points. (word count 750) ””””””””””””””.
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